Box of Art (Why Mass Market Paintings, Part 2)

Part of Postmod Art, or the revolution in painting, is the mass production of paintings or gliclees” on canvas. They can be made so exact that you could line up 4 copies and the original on the wall – all of them in the same frame – and no one could tell which is the original.

Let painting join the other mass marketed arts: lit/books, film/dvd, music/records. Then it too will become as popular as books, films and records.

But more than once people have read my ideas and replied to me, that somehow the original painting is the only version worthy. And that somehow displaying exact copies is cheating the viewer! The biggest reason is that the artist’s hands never touched the copies! Original paintings should not be copied and the original should be viewed only in museums or somebody’s mansion.

Here is my response to that:

First I say, as an artist, I would love this. I already make color copies of my smaller works and share them with anyone interested. I love holding on to the original while sharing copies. What artist wouldn’t?

Then if that doesn’t sway, I suggest that most paintings in museums are hidden in the vaults where no one ever sees them. A very small percentage of works that museums own are displayed at any one time. Why not copy those and share the copies? The museum can protect the originals while the copies go on the road! Sure would help the museums finance their collections.

Then if they STILL hold to the idea that somehow the original painting is more magical than copies – so much more so that copies are an outrage – I say this.

OK critic. I’m going to give you a BIG BOX OF ART, full of some of the best art in the world. If this box of art was sold at auction it would be worth millions of dollars with each item, by itself, worth from about 100,000 to 1 million or more. That alone suggests that each work is a valuable work of art prized by the world’s art lovers. Would you like that gift?

Here is a list of the contents of the BIG BOX OF ART:

1. Black and white, fine prints by:

2. Color, fine prints by:
Japanese Woodblock Prints (10 assorted artists)

3. Photographic prints by:

4. Sculptures in multiple castings by

5. And on top

Assorted Picasso pottery plates, and vases; assorted Toulouse–Lautrec posters; AND One copy of Marcel Duchamp’s Box in a Valise (box of 69 miniature replicas and printed reproductions of the original)

Nice box of art right? Some of the best artists of all time right? Some of their best work,..

But wait a minute, remember what the critic says: works not touched by the artists hands are not worthy, and that multiple copies of paintings are not acceptable. Sorry critic, all these works of art are copies! No box of art for you!

Maybe this example helps open minds to how great the art revolution of mass produced, exact, painting copies, can be! We will always have the originals. Now we can share copies with all the world!

*Gliclee definition: giclée (zhee-clay) n. 1. a type of digital fine-art print. 2. Most often associated with reproductions; a giclée is a multiple print or exact copy of an original work of art that was created by conventional means (painting, drawing, etc.) and then reproduced digitally, typically via inkjet printing. First use in this context by Jack Duganne in 1991, Los Angeles, California (from limitededitonprints)



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One Response to “Box of Art (Why Mass Market Paintings, Part 2)”

  1. musea Says:

    Copies would also preserve the look of paintings that fade. This article shows what a Renoir painting looked like when it was painted, and how it looks now.

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